Thirteen year old Justin Perales had gotten a surprise from Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Justin has been diagnosed with AVM(arteriovenous malformation); a tangle of blood in the vessels which had burst. Recently, Justin had woke up from being in a coma for five weeks.
“(Justin) didn’t have any symptoms and he just passed out and (the blood vessels) ruptured,” said Justin’s father, Eddie. “When the blood hits the brain, that’s what causes the coma – the doctors put you in a coma and stuff. But if you catch it early, you’re able to do a surgery, like Mike Patterson. But his (Justin), it just ruptured all of a sudden and everything started going a little bit downhill at that point.”
On Friday, Justin and his dad had the opportunity to tour the NovaCare Complex, but was surprised when Justin’s favorite quarterback was their tour guide.“It’s been amazing,” Eddie said. “(Justin’s) a huge Michael Vick fan and a huge Eagles fan. We were in the hospital for 10 weeks, he was in a coma for maybe half of those weeks. When I took him to the hospital, he was basically not breathing at the time that I drove him. But I was able to catch footage, like I recorded everything through social media because he’s not going to remember that time, and when the Eagles announced Michael Vick was going to start he was cheering in my bed.
“And I have that footage and it’s on YouTube and stuff, so that’s something where he remembers only a few people, but at that time he remembered that so that was huge. He thought we were coming down here for a youth camp, but then I guess he realized it was a little bit more than a regular youth camp. It’s pretty good, and I’m pretty sure he’s extremely happy, so we’re never going to forget this.”
Vick was touched by this young man’s optimism;“It’s special,” Vick said. “I wish we could do that more often, but (Justin’s) the lucky one. I’m pretty sure this is something that he’ll never forget. It’ll take a while for it to soak in right now, but I think in the long run he’s going to really appreciate it. I love kids. I’ll always think if one of my own was going through what some kids are going through in this world, things they can’t control, how I’d want someone to be there for them and try to put a smile on their face. He’s smiling right now and I was able to do that. It makes it all worth it.”
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